Friday, September 28, 2012

April 18--Arenal Volcano and Baldi Hot Springs

Not only welcome to La Fortuna, welcome to rainy, drizzly Costa Rica.

Seeing lava running over the side of a volcano is on my bucket list. I had hoped that the Arenal Volcano would allow me to check it off the list. Unfortunately, since 2010 it's frequency has been decreasing (until then it'd been one of the 10 most active volcanos).

Some facts about the Volcan Arenal
  • It's a stratovolcano-a tall, symmetrical volcano that's built upon successive layers of ash, rock, and lava.
  • Its largest eruption happened in 1968 and buried over 5 miles in rocks and lava. It also completely wiped out 3 villages.
  • It's been active for the past 43 with smoke, gas, and lava pouring out of it's top.
  • The volcano and the lake provide 12% of the country's hydrothermal power.
  • It's actually now has three on the top that are active.
We love an adventure that warns us of the danger before we start. :) We spent the morning hiking in Arenal National Park.

One thing that was so great about Costa Rica was how quickly the vegetation changed. One moment we were walking through grasses and bamboos, the next moment you're in a forest, before finally finding yourself walking through the black rock lava fields. All within less than 4km.

The grass forest at the beginning of the trail.

Into the forest part.

I'm sure you're thinking "it's just another tree." Wrong. This tree was HUGE.

See. I wasn't kidding. The rooty thingys were probably 10 to 15 feet tall and the tree was easily 75 feet.

Almost to the peak of the Chanto Volcano (an inactive volcano) where the views of Arenal Volcano was unparalleled.  Isn't that black rock something else?

views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal
Melanie may not have followed the no trespassing signs
Lake Arenal

Trying to get a good pic with Arenal Volcano before the fog rolls in
Look who's a volcano! 

There were all sorts of water activities that you could do on Lake Arenal and instead of pre reserving an activity we thought we'd just take a change and drive until we found something. BAD IDEA. Always prebook activities in Costa Rica--they'll pick you up and save you the hassle of being sent on a wild goose chase over some crazy roads.

So instead of some awesome water activity, we ended up taking advantage of the gardens and the pools that Volcano Lodge and Gardens had to offer.  It wasn't a bad trade off. The gardens were paradise and it was wonderful to just relax and play in the pools.

Super excited for our garden stroll.

Still not sure why I decided posing with this large branch would be a good idea.

How awesome is it that the resort had a waterfall on property.

Still can't believe that's a VOLCANO behind me!

We ate our yummy breakfast buffet in the building on the left.

the pool, funny statues on the grounds, the walkway in front of our rooms, and the doors to our rooms

Usually by the time night rolled around, we were grateful that lots of things weren't open as we were  tired from our action packed day and getting up way too early. But I could spend every evening at the Baldi Hot Springs and be perfectly happy. Baldi is like a hot springs theme park with 25 pools, swim up bars, music, and water slides.  Can you say heaven?

We loved trying all the different pools (we think we got all of them).  But the surprise of the evening was the water slides. We should have known that when we got to the top they had a sign warning us that they go fast and that serious injury could occur. I thought no way, do they need the sign. As I start flying down the completely dark ride, I realized they weren't joking. These slides were scary (in an awesome way) and I've never see a slide shoot people out five feet or more before they land in the water.

photo from

Now if I could have just had a pina colada in my hand I'd be very content

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